Processing Images – NGC 6523 and M8 (Part 2 of 2)

Using the 3 exposures as shown in the previous post, we came up with the following result for NGC 6523 and M8….also known as the Lagoon Nebula.

The quality of the finished image was not as good as we had hoped, but it does show how the dark band of gas cloud is seperating the Lagoon Nebula into 2 sections.

The exposures also show 2 very bright hot stars on the right hand side of the nebula. The star on the bottom was picked up by the red filter while the star at the top was picked up by both the green and blue filters.

We suspect that the hot star captured by the red filter is actually Herschel 36 which is the primary source of the ionising radiation for the brightest region of the nebula. This ionising radiation heats up and ‘evaporates’ the surfaces of the clouds (seen as a blue ‘mist’ in our processed image), and drives violent stellar winds which tear into the cool clouds.

The other hot star shown in blue at the top of the picture would be 9 sagittarii .

9 Sagittarii is a giant or supergiant star. Blue giants, on the other hand, are younger stars that started out much larger than our Sun. These stars burn hotter and brighter than most, and consequently their lives are shorter. A good portion of these blue giants end their lives as supernovas, neutron stars or even black holes.

Overall Sydney Star Gazers likes the results of the image as it does show nicely the blue clouds which are being evaporated by the radiation coming from Herchel 9. As with all image processing, you can tweak the settings to highlight specific areas you want to enhance and focus upon.

The Lagoon Nebula is visible from Sydney tonight. You can find out how to locate it by seeing our topic on it at Sydney Universe Watch which can be found at

NGC 6523 M8 final image (Click to Enlarge)

~ by sydneystargazers on July 1, 2010.

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